Useful Mac OS X Apps for Productivity

September 5, 2012

Top Mac OS X Apps for ProductivityI’m an app guy. I love using Mac apps to simplify and automate anything in my daily processes. Spending time today to improve workflow in the future is always a good use of time. For this reason, I’d like to share a list of the top Mac OS X apps I use from day to day to improve productivity.


1Password can create strong, unique passwords for you, remember them, and restore them, all directly in your web browser, phone or tablet. No more digging for forgotten password, 1Password becomes your account storage vault. I’ve been using this for 3 years, and I can’t begin to imagine what my life would be like without it.


Dropbox logoAlways have a good backup plan, and make it easy to stick to your backup routine. Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website. I use this to backup my website development files, music, photos, 1Password data, email and more. Anything and everything that is important is stored here.


Alfredo Mac App Logo IconAlfred is a productivity application for Mac OS X, which aims to save you time in searching your local computer and the web. Whether it’s maps, Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia, you can feed your web addiction quicker than ever before. It definitely makes the cut as one of the top Mac OS X apps out there.

It’s a wonderful piece because it enables you to:

  • Increase your productivity by launching apps with shortcuts
  • Instant access to web searches, bookmarks & more
  • Browse and play music from your iTunes library quickly
  • Perform actions – copy, move & email files & folders
  • Ward off RSI – skip using the mouse with easy shortcuts


Quicksilver App Logo IconQuicksilver is a fast and free Mac OS X productivity application that gives you the power to control your Mac quickly and elegantly. Quicksilver learns your habits, making your everyday chores simple and efficient.


Evernote logoEvernote is an app for note taking that features online syncing, much like Dropbox. Install Evernote on your desktop, laptop, iPhone and iPad and have access to all your notes, and if you’ve left all them all at home, access them on the web.


Things Task App Logo IconThings is a delightful and easy to use task manager. You’ll get started in no time, entering and organizing your to-dos. You’ll discover how Things truly makes you more productive. And soon you’ll realize that achieving your goals comes more naturally – one to-do at a time. If you’re a task management junky, Things is one of the top Mac OS X apps out there.

Sequel Pro

Sequel Pro Logo IconSequel Pro is a fast, easy-to-use Mac database management application for working with MySQL databases.

Sequel Pro gives you direct access to your MySQL databases on local and remote servers.

If you are a Mac Web Developer, Programmer or Software Developer your workflow will be streamlined with a native Mac OS X application! Sequel Pro is one of the top free Mac OS X apps out there.

Reader for Mac

Reader for Mac App Logo IconA gorgeous RSS reader based on the iOS app. I love this app because it makes reading news a pure joy.

  • Syncs with Google Reader
  • Can manage Google Reader subscriptions
  • Has full Readability integration
  • Supports multi-touch gestures
  • Switches between reader and webpage view in a swipe
  • Has customizable interface and shortcuts
  • Supports Lion fullscreen mode
  • Offers quick access to services (including Twitter, Readability, Instapaper, ReadItLater and Evernote)

If you’re into reading news and blogs using RSS, Reader for Mac is one of the top Mac OS X apps you should be using.


Launchbar App Logo IconLaunchBar is a smart and powerful, keyboard driven productivity utility that lets you access and control every aspect of your digital life. Whatever you want to get done on your Mac – with LaunchBar it’s only a few keystrokes away.

Get instant access to applications, documents, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, media libraries, search engines and so much more – just by typing short abbreviations.

It’s a file manager, a web and desktop search tool, an app launcher, a clipboard manager, a jukebox, a calculator, an information browser, … or quite simply a tremendous time saver!


The best way to transfer files to an FTP or SFTP server, or the cloud via Amazon S3, or using WebDAV. If you maintain a website, do backups, or upload photos this is a must have app.

Transmit allows you to transfer multiple files simultaneously, making transfer speeds up to 25x faster.


Coda is the only web-language-text-editor I like. It does everything you really need for web applications. It remember some common part of code in clips that you can load just by typing their tag name, it completes your html tags, it shows you the list of functions with related variables and autocomplete, it has the powerful Transmit ftp engine built in, it has a great visual CSS editor, it allows you to personalize the text colors and it has HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP doumentation maulaus available from within the application.


CloudApp Logo IconCloudApp allows you to share images, links, music, videos and files. Here is how it works: choose a file, drag it to the menubar and let us take care of the rest. We provide you with a short link automatically copied to your clipboard that you can use to share your upload with co-workers and friends.


Sparrow Mail App Mac Logo IconSparrow’s hallmark is a simplified user interface reminiscent of Twitter clients such as Tweetie or iOS apps, as opposed to a more traditional e-mail style such as Apple’s Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird.

Sparrow currently supports all IMAP email accounts. It also includes features such as drag-and-drop attachments, Growl support, and keyboard shortcuts, as well as threaded replies and easy switching between Gmail accounts.


Cinch App Logo IconCinch gives you simple, mouse-driven window management by defining the left, right, and top edges of your screen as ‘hot zones’. Drag a window until the mouse cursor enters one of these zones then drop the window to have it cinch into place. Cinching to the left or right edges of the screen will resize the window to fill exactly half the screen, allowing you to easily compare two windows side-by-side (splitscreen). Cinching to the top edge of the screen will resize the window to fill the entire screen (fullscreen). Dragging a window away from its cinched position will restore the window to its original size.

Have More Useful Mac OS X Apps to Suggest?

I’m sure there are many we haven’t mentioned, and some we don’t even know about. Let us know what your favorite Mac OS X apps are and we’ll add them to the list!

Principal Front-end Engineer

Kevin is the Principal Front-end Engineer at <a href="">MIT Technology Review</a>. He specializes in building and designing websites and products. He also writes articles at Smashing Magazine and CSS Tricks. Before MIT Technology Review, Kevin was the Manager of Web Operations at RapidMiner.